Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Adjusting to our New Surroundings

Things are going well.  We've had lots to do the past 2 weeks.  We bought our car which was huge. Driving has been an adventure.  But I've done a few solo drives including getting out of Cambridge and onto the Motorway.  Honestly, it was frightening.  I'm not at all comfortable with these multi-lane round abouts.   I'm sure with experience, it'll get better.  Just put a deposit down on a property, hoping to get in by July 1.  Though that probably won't happen.  We found out that our household goods won't be here until end of July.  We were hoping for much sooner, however, we got a call last week that the shipment hadn't even left the port yet.


We've spent our free time exploring some of the towns and eating at great restaurants.  So far, most of the places we've been have had great food.  Last night we went to the Old Bridge Hotel in Huntingdon for dinner.  It's a very pretty location.  I got a few pictures in just before another rain storm hit.
 











There's a point when you are on vacation that you are just ready to go home.  I've hit that point, missing my normal surroundings and belongings and friends.  Having the kitties here with me is helping because I at least have them as something familiar.  I'm enjoying all the sights, it's beautiful here.  I've got a few pictures of some of our walks.




 

  
  
 


 


Thursday, June 18, 2015

House Hunting in the UK

We've been here in the UK now over a week.  Finding a house has been a priority.  We've spent a couple days viewing properties.  Our first few viewings were not good.  The homes were very small, cramped and dirty.  Another apartment style home was small, but cute, however they wouldn't allow pets.  We were slightly disappointed, but still had more appointments.  We are pretty sure we want a home near the city so we will have easy access to city life.  It will also be an ideal location for when all you visitors start coming!  This will mean John's commute will be much longer.  There are right now two townhouse properties that we are interested in.  They are very new and modern with 3 floors.   I was told this morning that the landlord of the larger one is very interested in us and would allow the cats.  Here are a few pictures of the property.

Living in the villages would allow a short commute for John, but not a lot to do.  We have looked at a couple homes but are leaning toward the city properties.

 4-bedroom townhouse
Entertaining room/family room looking out over deck and tree-lined back yard.

The kitchen includes a hidden refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, and microwave.

Dining room area, which is bigger than it appears in the picture.


Deck two...there are three!

Master bedroom has built in wardrobe...a big plus here.
In between house hunting, we've been exploring Cambridge and some villages where we've enjoyed some good food and drink.  The Eagle is one of John's favorites. 



The Smokeworks turned out to be a great barbeque place which I'm sure we'll get back to often.





It's so beautiful here.  I still expect to wake up from a dream and find myself at home.  It's been a little overwhelming.  I'm finally feeling better and I'm caught up on my sleep so I'm not as tired as last week.  We've been doing a lot of walking which I'm sure will be routine while we are here.  We've been meeting people.  We went to a get-together with a neighbor of John's coworkers.  They were a wonderful and fun British couple and we hope to spend more time with them. 

After a long day of appointments, we sat on The Varsity roof terrace and viewed the city below.  

My new Samsung s6 took these photos...I think it does a pretty good job! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

And the Adventure Begins

Getting ready to move to the UK has been quite the ride the past few weeks. Emotionally, I've been like a yoyo, up and down.  One minute scared and nervous.  The next, like a kid at Christmas full of anticipation and excited for the day to arrive.  The actual move started early May with the first shipment of household goods being packed and crated for shipment to the UK.  We were nervous about being over our weight limit after the storage company came to give us an estimate.  We started going through everything....what can we get rid of!  A lot of furniture went to our girls.  Come to find out, we weren't even close.  Later, we were concerned about what we could actually fit into a home in England, so we started checking off the list lots of items we had originally planned to take.  We want to live in the city which means more expensive and smaller accommodations.  Since we brought so little, I'm hopeful to do some shopping while here!  Our last weekend, we went one more time to see the kids.  With tears in my eyes, I said goodbye to Beki.

About 5 days before we were leaving, I got really sick with an upper respiratory bug.  I was miserable and very nervous about being sick during our flights.  Ended up at the urgent care on Thursday.  The doctor put me on some meds and an antibiotic.  I wasn't well by Sunday, but I made it through the flight ok.  Had a little trouble with my right ear on the last landing.

We spent our last 10 nights in St. Louis jumping around hotels.  We spent 3 nights in the Hilton-Ballpark Hotel.  That was a lot of fun...beautiful views of the city and ball field.  We had our first experience up in the 360 club up on the 26th floor.  John and I hung out there the first night by the fireplace.  We then had dinner with friends of ours on our second night.



The Friday before we left, Ari and Anthony came to see us off.  They even got up at 6:10 to come down and say goodbye.  I cried several times on the plane.  I think, besides the time I left Ohio in 1989, this was one of the hardest things I've ever done...leaving behind my kids and knowing I won't see them for awhile.

We flew out of St. Louis, Sunday, June 7th, to Chicago.  Bad weather in Chicago had us delayed almost two hours in St. Louis, but we had a 5 hour layover so we weren't worried about making our flight.  We boarded on time in Chicago. The 7 1/2 hour flight was uneventful.  I slept for about 3 hours...not nearly enough since we landed in London at 5:50 am and had to stay up all day.  We then waited at the airport for 4 hours before we got the call about the cats stating something was wrong with the rabies certificates, which was missing the rabies product name.  We paid a lot of money for a pet transport company to review all the documentation...this should not have been missed!  I was beside myself.  We had a courier pick us up from the airport and he was waiting to take us to our lodging which was already going to be an hour and a half ride.  The vet clinic back home wouldn't have opened for another 4 hours.  About 20 minutes passed as we were beginning to think there was nothing we could do but wait when I realized the vet clinic had suggested I come in and get copies of the cats records.  We quickly fumbled through the files and found for each of them the copies of the stickers from the rabies bottle that have the name of the product.  I almost cried again from relief when the tech said that would be acceptable.

We finally made it to our lodging and I think the cats were so excited to see us, that it didn't take any time at all for them to get comfortable and not be nervous.  A co-worker of John's came and picked us up, took us to the stores where we could get cat litter and food for breakfast.  He later came back and took us to dinner with his family. It was a nice welcome and I was excited to meet someone.  Today we made stops in town to try to set up our banking, where we found out a new rule requiring a physical address to apply.  But in order to get a rental, you have to have a bank account.  How frustrating is that?  They are trying to figure out what we need in order to make this work.    In the afternoon, we went to take our drivers test...passed after only one failed attempt.  And, we had the handbook and Greg there helping us that first time.  The test is rather difficult because of all the different terms they use and the fact everything is opposite to our driving.

Town Center Huntingdon
 
So, after two days, we are trying to get acclimated, the weather is a bit chilly right now. Cooler than normal.  We walked up the road for dinner at the pink pub tonight and met a sweet old lady who has lived in the village 53 years and it used to be her job to welcome all the Americans into the area.

There was a cow grazing and watching the cars go by in the middle of the city!
Today, our 3rd day, we slept in, had lunch with some of the people John will work with, got our rental car set up, and drove to Cambridge to test the commute, and went out for dinner to The Brampton Mill. 


I don't have a lot of good pics yet...these were all from my cell phone.  Hopefully, we'll have time to pull out the camera for some good shots soon. 

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